Thursday, December 13, 2007
The Florida Supreme Court disbarred an attorney for a series of ethics violations that the court characterized as "egregious" misconduct. Among the findings were over $60,000 in misappropriation of client funds. In one instance, the attorney went to the office of opposing counsel and demanded a settlement check. When rebuffed, he stole two paintings from the office. He initially denied that he had done so to the office manager but admitted the thefts when advised that he had been videotaped.
The attorney had a longstanding cocaine problem. The court declined to consider the addiction as a mitigating factor as the referee had found that the addiction was a "lifestyle choice and was of long duration." The attorney had actively practiced while abusing illegal drugs and had only sought treatment to avoid the consequences of his misconduct. (Mike Frisch)